Today my running the streets of Pittsburgh takes a serious turn, Greenfield. On the map it looks innocent enough. Straight streets, not too many alleys. But, a naive non-Pittsburgher would be sorely mistaken. The streets are straight, but the topography is NOT! This means that most of those “straight” streets are going “straight uphill”! No, none are going downhill.
I started on the edge of Greenfield, on Saline Street. For the record, “Saline Street” is also the name of a street about a mile away at the bottom of the hill. Winding my way down Saline Street, I did a little up and down on Beechwood before going up, up, up on Bigelow Street. I am constantly amazed how, in Pittsburgh, street names are used over and over. There’s another “Bigelow” in Oakland. At any rate, this Bigelow Street forms the southern border to Greenfield. It steadily climbs to a crest from which you can see all of downtown spread out before you. Then it plunges down to Greenfield Avenue. Along the way you go from nice, manicured lawns and open spaces to Waldeck Street, a narrow, dangerous lane with a hairpin curve as it becomes idyllic Sylvan Ave. (Nothing idyllic about that street, except for the name.)
Sylvan Avenue is a cliffhanger which leads to the main drag of Greenfield Avenue. I slogged up Greenfield and then started winding up and down the hills. As the Strava data will attest, this was one big hill after another. One of my early favorites was Tunstall Street. A big yellow “No Outlet” sign adorns the exit onto Greenfield. Nonetheless, it goes straight up. Strava indicated a 23% grade, but I wasn’t so sure about that, so I checked around. Sure enough, it is one of the steeper streets around, even making this list of Pittsburgh steps. About halfway up the hill several tall, narrow, houses perch on the left side of the road (going up). I got to the top, noticed a muddy parking area and decided I had reached a private parking area. But did I??
I ran back to Greenfield Avenue and then up the next little street, Yoder. Yoder was another goat pathway perched on a hill. I’m happy no cars decided to come down at that moment. Yoder was longer, but more gradual, and rose above the houses on Tunstall. Sure enough, Yoder intersects Alvin “Street” – a stairway which led down to that muddy parking lot! That lot, on the map, is an official street! Ha! I’m sure this type of thing will happen again.
Then the run was a series of ups and downs and trying not to do the same street over and over. I’ve only scratched the surface of Greenfield. Greenfield, I will be back, hopefully with more synonyms for “up”.